Here are some fabulous ways to celebrate Chinese New Year’s Eve on February 2, 2011!
1. Prepare your Lucky Red Envelopes called “Lai See”, “Hong Bao” or “Ang Pow”. These are lucky money packets filled with crisp new uncirculated bills, shiny gold coins, chocolate coins or Feng Shui coins. The number 8 is considered lucky (for its homophone for "wealth"), and $8 is commonly found in the red envelopes. They are considered incredibly lucky to give and receive. The more you give out, the more luck comes back to you! You can send them to your Dharma Teachers, Helpful People, clients, Feng Shui consultants (!)
2. Make your “Money Tree” (see the how-to on this blog!)
3. Make your “Wishing Tree” (see the how-to on this blog!)
4. In the afternoon around 3:00pm it’s time to say good-bye to the current year by paying tribute to the Deities and Ancestors at the family altar. One offers plates of cooked fish, duck, pork and/or chicken; oranges; sweet glutinous rice cakes; tea and wine; and candy. Light candles, 3 sticks of incense and burn heaven money. The family prays together. When the incense has burned half way down, the gods are considered to have had their meal—you get to now eat the rest!
5. Turn every light on in the house all night to scare away any misfortunate chi of ghosts and sprits.
6. Open the front door (traditionally, all night long!)to let the old year out.
7. Have a Reunion Dinner with the whole family and share a big feast. An empty chair and place setting represents someone not there. Family members should be well dressed and the women should wear their jewels to signify a continuity of good fortune. No one should look tired, worn out or unhappy. There should be an abundance of food on the table and everyone should have a least two helpings for good luck! Serve these symbolic foods such as
Lettuce Rolls (Cantonese word for lettuce sounds like “rising fortune”); dumplings and spring rolls (their shape is similar to ingots or gold bars); leafy mustard greens for long life; tangerines (sounds like “luck”); oranges (sounds like “wealth”); pomelos (the Chinese word for pomelo sounds like the word for "to have"); black seaweed to increase wealth; egg dishes for rebirth; candy and sweet foods for a year full of sweetness; long, uncut noodles for longevity.
The word for fish, "Yu," sounds like the words both for wish and abundance. As a result, on New Year's Eve it is customary to serve a fish at the end of the evening meal, symbolizing a wish for abundance in the coming year. For added symbolism, the fish is served whole, with head and tail attached, symbolizing a good beginning and ending for the coming year.
Sticky Rice Cake symbolizes a rich, sweet life, while the layers symbolize rising abundance for the coming year. Finally, the round shape signifies family reunion.
8. Now it’s time to keep vigil for the Lunar New Year! The sound of sleepiness in Chinese is similar to “trouble”. Not going to sleep means no trouble for the coming year!
Some will stay up watching Chinese New Year television specials or playing mah-jong till midnight.
There is an exchanging of red envelopes with family members.
Kids stay up all night as believed their parents would live a longer life
Children will put all Red Envelopes under the pillow when sleeping. They said children can sleep well without bad dream and become richer next year.
The kids are promised the arrival of the Wealth God, Tsai Shen Yeh, and while they sleep parents slip a red envelope with money under their pillow signifying his visit.
Many will choose to gather outside the temple after reunion dinner, as everyone wants to be the first person of the year to be blessed by the God in the incense stick race. One the first second of the Hour of the Rat (11:00pm), as soon as the temple's main gate is opened, people will dash into the temple to insert the incense stick into the incense container. The winner gets a big red envelope and will be very lucky in the coming year.
9. At the stroke of Midnight:
Set off firecrackers accompanied by gongs, drums and cymbals, to start off New Year with a “bang” and drive away the old chi of last year and any negative spirits.
If you haven’t already, open all doors and windows to allow the old year to leave and bring in the good luck of the New Year!
Light red candles and incense
The young ones should bow and pay respects to their elders.
Or go to the temple praying to bless the whole family for another prosperous New Year. The first to place incense sticks in the censer at temple will be especially blessed.
I sincerely wish you and your loved ones an extraordinary New Year!
Head’s up—another Mercury Retrograde is coming soon! December 10th starts a new wave of Heavenly obstacles for travel, data and communication until things ease up on the 30th.
Because Mercury is a planet that affects travel, communications, details, and information, this planet’s backward journey three times a year can have a great disruptive influence on the easy flow and harmony in your life. It often proves to be an incredible opportunity for reflection and assessing your heart-felt priorities as moving forward is just so difficult!
This is why I encourage you to use Feng Shui cures for your car, phones, computers and fax machines to help mitigate some of the Heavenly affects.
As always when practicing Feng Shui, do both mundane (earthly) and transcendental (invisible) actions for your success.
On the mundane level:
Back up your work on your computer and electronics
Run your anti-virus programs
Double check and make copies of all communications
If you feel anxious, exhausted, overwhelmed or frustrated, get more sleep and practice your meditation
Lighten up—downsize, de-clutter, simplify, less is more
Make sure any important projects are finished as much as possible before the planet goes retrograde
Bring your car to tip-top shape-- oil changed, tires checked and so on
Triple check any travel plans and reservations
Avoid making any major purchases but especially cars, computers or electronics
Now is the time to complete any unfinished projects and to-do lists including taking care of your financial matters
If you’re going to list a house for sale, make sure you do every single Feng Shui cure and ceremony (I can help you with this)
On the transcendental level:
Make sure to sign all contracts in red ink with an upward slanting signature on an auspicious contract day from the Chinese almanac
Avoid doing anything important on a taboo day
If you feel a lot of obstacles and frustrations, make Feng Shui adjustments such as clearing any obstacles, clutter, energy drains, mind-sets or habits that no longer serve you
Hang a 50mm clear faceted Swarovski crystal sphere (hung on 9" increments of heavy red floss) above your computer
Place a small container of sea salt next to your computer (I put mine in a small, stylish white Zen-style bowl)
Tie a 9” piece of red ribbon or string around any cord (from jack) that attaches to your phones
Tie a 9” piece of red ribbon or string around the modem cord that attaches to your computer
Hang a 50mm clear faceted Swarovski crystal sphere (hung on 9” increments of red thread) OR metal wind-chime in the center of computer room or above problem telephone systems
Place a circle of red cloth, then a same-sized round mirror atop that, then a string of jade zodiac animals (or an image of them) on top of those and finally put your landline phone set or your cell phone charger on the very top.
Hang a 30, 40 or 50mm clear faceted Swarovski crystal sphere (hung on 9” increments of red thread) from the rear-view mirror of your car visualizing spiritual light protecting you and all drivers as well as protecting the car
If you need any of the above cures, write me info@10KBlessingsFengShui.com and we can easily arrange for me to ship them to you!
May your travels and communications be joyful, easy and bring you amazing good fortune and opportunities!
Want to know your very own personal best days each month as well as your clashing days so you can plan your schedule accordingly? I'll send you your zodiac animal sign dates for the entire year by mail for only $36. Pop me an email at info@10KBlessingsFengShui.com with your birth date, month and year and I'll send you the details.
Well, here we are again in another Mercury Retrograde (until the 29th) where communications can be extremely challenging and full of obstacles (not that they WILL, just that they CAN be!) So here are a few Feng Shui tips from Grandmaster Lin Yun that can be used to help with problem phones or computers as well as clear communication with folk. May these bring you some ease...
1. Hang a 50mm clear faceted Swarovski crystal sphere (hung on 9" increments of heavy red thread) above your main telephone.
2. Hang a brass temple wind-chime (hung on 9" increments of red ribbon) above your computer
3. Place a circle of red cloth, then a same-sized round mirror atop that, then a string of zodiac animals (or an image of them) on top of those and finally put your landline phone set or your cell phone charger on the very top.
4. Tie a 9" piece of red ribbon or string around any cord that attaches to any phone.
And just recently learned this from Ellen Whitehurst...
5. Place a small container of sea salt next to your computer (I put mine in a small sylish white Zen style bowl).
May your communications by phone and computer be joyful, easy and bring you amazing good fortune and opportunities!
I read a very interesting interview in the International herald Tribune with Feng Shui Master Raymond Lo who was explaining the bad start to the 2008 Olympic year for China.
"In fewer than four months, China has been pelted by crippling blizzards and riots in Tibet. These were followed by chaos on the interational legs of the Olympic torch relay, fuelded by pro-Tibet demonstrations. Then came a bloody train crash followed by [the] deadly 7.9 magnitude earthquake in central Sichuan province.
Lo, who lives in Hong Kong, tried to explain some of the occurences in terms of Chinese astrology...Lo said part of the problem may stem fromt the birthdates of China's current political leadership: president Hu Jintao and premier Wen Jiabao. Both were born in 1942, the Year of the Horse.
In Chinese astrology, 2008 is the Year of the Rat and, according to Lo, this is part of the problem.
'In animal astrology we know the horse clashes with the rat...so if you are born in the Year of the Horse, because of the clash against the rat, you will have a turbulent year'.
Lo offered a remedy. He said carrying an ox pendent...could help ward off problems, because the ox is seen as a friend of the rat.
The other reason is that the Year of the Rat is symbolized by earth and water, an unstable relationship in 2008...that means natural disasters are very common this year.'"